County tax bills delayed by software problem | News
KINGWOOD — County tax bills are being mailed out late in about 16 West Virginia counties — including Preston — because of a software problem.
The tickets are usually mailed out July 15, which is the first day county tax offices can start collecting the new year’s taxes.
That date has passed, but Preston Chief Tax Deputy Jennifer Lewis said she hopes the tax bills will be out by next week.
“The tax tickets are a little delayed due to the company that we get our NADA [National Automobile Dealers Association] values from,” Lewis said.
J.D. Power owns National Appraisal Guides and NADAguides.com. The company provides the current estimated values of cars, RVs, mobile homes, boats and other personal property.
Preston and some other counties in West Virginia contracted with Complete System Support Inc. to supply software that provides those values to counties.
A tax document called a supplemental is created for anyone who doesn’t complete and return a personal property tax form to the assessor. The values assigned to vehicles on supplementals were off, Lewis said.
“It was defaulting to a $500 value,” she explained.
So regardless of what the taxpayer’s vehicle on a supplemental actually was worth, the software said it was worth $500. There was no problem with the values assigned to vehicles taken from forms that were submitted on time.
Once CSSI was alerted of the problem, it worked with J.D. Power to resolve it, Lewis said.
On Tuesday, Lewis sent the tax tickets to the printer.
“Our tickets are a little bit behind. We weren’t the only ones waiting, but we were probably the county with the most supplemental tickets, is why it took a little longer than some of the other counties,” Lewis said.
Preston County had 1,064 supplementals. A total of 45,521 tax tickets will be mailed out by Preston County.
“We just wanted to make sure everything went out correctly, and that’s been double-checked,” Lewis said.
Even without their tickets, Preston County taxpayers can pay their tax bills online or in person at the courthouse annex.
Tucker County Bookkeeper and Assistant Treasurer Becky Polomski said her county had the same problem.
“The NADA values were not working,” she said. “And our assessor’s office caught that quickly, and we called” CSSI, which was unaware of the problem until then and immediately started work to resolve it, Polomski said.
A solution was in place about two weeks ago, she said. “And it wasn’t for lack of trying [by CSSI]. It was a holdup with NADA providing that information.”
Tucker County mailed its tax tickets separately from its supplementals. It mailed the supplementals, more than 200, last week. Tucker County sends out about 17,000 to 18,000 tax tickets altogether, Polomski said.